Need suggestions to help son with interview!

My son graduated in May (no commencement, we are still ournung over that). He has a major in fine arts, graphic design concentration. It’s not been easy getting an interview, he is open to marketing, advertising along with graphic design. Who knows how long it will take. It’s not easy for liberal arts majors, and now through in the pandemic and is almost impossible.

He finally had a phone interview with property management company that needs help in their marketing and advertising dept. But, it’s only PT, 20 to 25 hours a week, and can’t predict if it will ever be FT. He passed the phone interview with one of the principals and has an in person this week.

So, of course if he was lucky enough to be offered this job, they have to know a young 23 year old recent grad will be looking for a FT job.

I’m trying to help him come up with an honest response that won’t shoot himself in the lot.

I thought something like “I think this would be a great opportunity to learn and provide any talents or perspectives I have. It’s a tough time right now and it might be this way for a long time” or something like that…he needs help, and as you can see I’m nit doing a great job. He gets so nervous, he can’t wing it. He need a pat answer.

I think the best bet is to just show excitement and motivation for the job at hand. No need and not a good idea to make “promises” for how long he will stay.

“The thought of doing this and this task is appealing to me and I think my skills of this and that are going to make both of us satisfied with the tasks of this position. I would look forward to the opportunity to work with your team to promote your properties”

And if the place is really pushing him to commit to a period of time that could be a red flag that 1. they are pushy 2. they have a hard time keeping a person at this position.

It’s true that beggars can’t be choosers in the job world right now. At the same time, he should feel more motivated than just a paycheck for the position from the start.

Is there any way he can work on his nervousness? It is hard to predict what questions are going to be asked. I suppose “why do you want this job” and “what do you see as your strengths and weaknesses” are possibilities. P/t may become f/t but it also goes on his resume and might be a step to an eventual f/t position.

I would emphasize with him that there will be lots of opportunities in the future and that he should consider the interview a chance for HIM to evaluate THEM as well. That kind of mental table-turning can sometimes help with anxiety.

A PT role gives him time to take classes online to improve his skills and portfolio; volunteer with an organization which needs his help but has no budget; get a “survival” job at Target etc.

If he can spend a day looking at the positives-- a chance to use his skills and get paid to do it, while spending quality time doing something else-- that will reduce his nervousness before he has to answer questions. He could do this job 20 hours a week, spend 20 hours a week developing a marketing plan and materials for the local food bank to better target donations to high need items- and a year from now, will have a really robust resume!

Does the university that he graduated from have a career center that is accessible to grads? If so, see if he can schedule a mock interview to practice.

Sounds to me like this company would be super lucky to land your son so I agree with compmom that he should be interviewing them.

And it’s not a marriage. If something better comes along, then he can be honest about needing more hours and see if they’ll match it. If not, hopefully it’s been good experience and you move on.

I think in normal times this would be more of an issue. This year I think not so much. He should just reply about the things that appeal to him about the job and how it matches his skills, etc.

I have seen lots of people take part time jobs that either turn into full time or they leave for full time. The company must know that these are possibilities.

He could say, “Doing part time is a good way for him to get to know the company better, likewise for the company.” He can then tell them some of his strong traits and how he will be a valuable contributor. If all should work out, he would be interested in a permanent position. He can also talk about what he is looking for in a company, position, that may be aligned with the company.

Some good advice above, yes he should be enthusiastic and positive about the work and how eager he is to be working in his field. They might think that a recent grad is the perfect hire for part-time because they’re just starting out and not expecting much.

And best wishes from someone who recently went through this with my DD in graphic design. She started with a very part time remote contractor position and tried to supplement with freelance. Now she is at a full time job making less than she could at Target but enjoying it. Boss said at hire he figures she’ll move on one day but that he wanted her for as long as she’d stay. She is making more than her monthly expenses so she’s happy and gaining experience.

I hope he gets this one or if not, maybe a better one!

Agree with @bjscheel that it is most important to be enthusiastic and positive.

Focusing on the part-time aspect is not going to be helpful if your son does not see the advantages.

Good advice above. In another context, I advise executives to practice in front of a mirror or people or a computer on record answering the two or three hardest questions he/she expects to be asked. The first time people answer them, they bumble and go down unhelpful paths. So, practice two or three times. It will take away the nerves (or at least reduce them) and will make a significant difference.

I always have told my kids, “an interview is for you to learn about the company and for the company to learn about you”. It is not one-sided. “Who is the expert on you? YOU. You are telling your story, your skills, your needs.”

I encouraged them to create an outlook that just as much as they could “win” to land the job, they needed to realize that the company could “win” to have them onboard.

I would also give him ownership for the interview. Try not to make him feel like part of the burden of the interview is to please the family.

I gave one of my kids this advice when he was in a similar situation.

I said “do you want this job? If so, concentrate on what THIS job has to offer you, not on what it doesn’t have to offer you.”

He got the job.

This is all such great and welcome advice. I’ll be sitting down with today and will certainly use these suggestions! Thanks all.

I will tell him to practice those answers outloud. Never thought of that.

Every interview either leads to a job… or gives practice for interviewing for the actual job someday.

When getting nervous it an interview, it can be sometimes helpful to ask the interviewer a general question … “How did you become interested in working for xxxx company?”

What’s wrong with saying, “This sounds really exciting and I’d be thrilled for the opportunity. I am hoping that you will ultimately be so happy with my work that this can turn into more. I plan to give it my all.”

As another parent of a 2020 college grad (without a real graduation), these kids are in a lousy spot. But at this point, they need whatever experience they can get to build their resumes (and portfolios), network, and be prepared for whatever may come next. Part of making their own luck is going to be approaching opportunities - including those that are part time and short term, with enthusiasm.

And as I told my kid, in this environment, a short gig won’t be viewed negatively so there’s not a ton of risk in what you choose.

Your kid’s got this!